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I-League 2017/18: Churchill Brothers relegated from top tier football

13:17 GMT 08/03/2018
Churchill Brothers I-League 2017/2018
The Goan side went down to Minerva Punjab in a must-win game to slide into second division...

Churchill Brothers have been relegated from the top division of Indian Football after the Goa-based side finished ninth in the league table with 17 points from 18 matches. They were above Indian Arrows in the table but since Arrows is a developmental project of All India Football Federation (AIFF), they are immune from relegation.

Churchill travelled to Panchkula knowing very well that anything less than three points will not be enough to stay afloat in the premier division. Their 1-0 loss to eventual champions Minerva Punjab did not help their cause. 

They had a dismal start to the season under the leadership of Mykola Shevchenco and had lost all their first five matches. They registered their first point in 2018 when they drew against East Bengal at home. The management decided to shake things up and Alfred Fernandes was elevated to the position of head coach. Fresh foreigners in the likes of Koffi Mechac and Kalu Ogba were also included in the team to turn around their fortunes.

The changes worked and they went on to pick up 15 points from six games. But just when it seemed that they have found the spring in their foot, things started to go haywire. They lost 2-1 to Indian Arrows at home and since then they have collected only a single point from five games. Injuries to Koffi and Kalu also marred their progress as their replacements have failed to impress.

Churchill needed three points from their last two games to hop past Chennai City or at least two to be at par with the men in green. But defeat against Mohun Bagan and subsequently to Minerva on the final match day sealed their demotion to second division.